Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They Came Today

But not for me.

Today is March 15th, the date by which California Education Code requires districts to notify teachers who might be laid off. In other words, it's Pink Slip Day.

The sad part is, there's never a state budget in place for next year by March 15th. That means that school districts don't really know how much money they're going to have, so the smart thing for them to do (from a certain point of view) is to be conservative and issue more pink slips than they might need to just in case their budget is cut drastically. It makes perfect sense from an accounting point of view, but it's exceedingly disruptive both to staff planning and to personal lives (people who ultimately might not be laid off start looking for other work) and morale plummets as people empathize with the Pink Slippers (most of us have gotten layoff notices at some time in our careers) and imagine not working with them next year.

What makes this year even worse is that California is in such a budget nightmare that Governor Brown wants to hold a special election in June to allow citizens to vote on whether to extend some higher taxes for a few more years. First, he has to get the initiatives past the state legislature, and then he has to sell them to the public. My own district's situation is illustrative: we're already trying to cut 10%, or $36 million, from next year's budget, and if the tax extensions don't pass, we'll have to cut anywhere from $13-35 million more. That's pretty gruesome, and you can imagine that there's been a run on pink paper at the stores because of the big unknown.


Mr. W said...

see your district is being cautious. Ours pretty much said "hey we are betting the taxes go through, so we aren't riffing anyone"

sounds all happy right? Well if they don't go through (which they won't) our district will do one of two things cut our pay by 10% or hand out special riffs (which they can due to budgetary reasons) in August, one week before we go back for meetings. Yeah our district is nice :-)

Ellen K said...

My district in north Texas is offering teachers ten percent of whatever they would make in the coming year if they sign off as retiring or resigning before May 1st. We are in a hiring freeze and I fear that some electives will go away never to return. Our master scheduling meeting is next week. I am not looking forward to it. We have been told to expect 36 per class on average. Which means I will have forty high school students per class. And I will somehow have to teach them with twenty percent less budget.